Sunday, January 9, 2011

Doggin' It

The first light of the day was met with the screams of a wounded cottontail. Fresh tracks gave way to the presence of the sly snow ghost. The air was still and bitter. The sunrise was of calendar quality.

Settling in on my first set led to rapid heart beats. The moment you make your first sound it can happen just like that. Unfortunately, this was not the case for my first set. Although I didn't see any dogs what I did see sure made up for it. Having a front row seat to a 16 below January sunrise is nothing short of amazing. The sun was a brilliant mix of reds and oranges. My breath lingered and my calls carried. This sunrise has been etched in my mind forever.

My next set was amazing. Perched on a hill overlooking some of the most beautiful wetlands and grasslands your eyes could ever focus on. My calls flowed over the snow like the water in a river. Suddenly a hen pheasant took flight out of a brush line. I knew the ghost had arrived. The coyote was sidetracked by the flush and took after the bird. The bird was long gone but the dog insisted. Pausing for only a moment and continuing on. The coyote was gone along with my shot. Of all things, a pheasant spoiled my set. Certain the canine would not get a feathered meal I continued my calls. Greeting howls and free meal screams filled the air.

As time passed I knew to be patient. Suddenly the ghost reappeared. The cross hairs were in position as to not miss another opprotunity. The shot was there and I took it. A classic spin and a few short hops. The ghost had fallen.

Predator control is important to all species and what an exciting way to participate. Catching this coyote in the act of pursuing pheasants reminds me of the purpose and need for dog hunting. Sure, everyone wants the big male but I really enjoy getting my scope on the females for they are the reproducers. Coyotes really do a number on game birds and need to be pressured. They are truly the ultimate predator.